Noeleen McIlvenna’s Remarks at the Board of Trustees Meeting, 19 October 2018

2018-10-19 BoT–Noeleen McIlvenna’s Remarks [PDF]

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2018-10-19 BoT--Noeleen McIlvenna

Trustees, President Schrader,

We have gathered today to reason with you to do what’s right for Wright State. Which is to remove the articles that undermine the academic mission off the negotiating table so that we can settle a fair contract quickly and allow us all to focus on building a better WSU.

There was never any need for this tension. This was YOUR choice, to break with a system that worked well, to hire an attorney to fight us, to attack the fundamentals within our working conditions and the students learning conditions. Faculty teaching students built the 130 million dollar reserve fund— Administration and Board were responsible for its destruction. Administration and Board then decided to take advantage of the crisis bad management created to attack the full-time faculty.

YOU can end this— today. And you should. Because you will not win a fight you pick with us.

Let’s consider where we stand. Mr. Fecher reminded us that y’all were smart. But we knew that. It was you who underestimated us. You have several smart guys, from the world of tech, right? We have a whole college full of smart tech men and women. (Let’s hear it for the faculty of Engineering and Computer Science! )

You have several smart businessmen. We have a whole college of Business, filled with very smart men and women, who know how to interpret 990s and audits. We could perhaps have a member from the Accountancy Department analyze the latest audit fiasco at WSARC. Some people really NEED watching, fiscally speaking. And that college also includes OUR Marketing Department.t (Let’s hear it for the faculty in the College of Business.)

You have a communication team. We have a whole Department of Communication, plus  great writers galore,  and artists, plus filmmakers, so excellent that they are endorsed by union member and most popular man in the world, Tom Hanks. (Let the Trustees hear it for Arts and Humanities at Wright State).

We have 560 experts in every field of human endeavor. And we have their partners— hundreds of men and women working in Raider Country—on our campus, in local  hospitals and schools and businesses, Delivering our message outward.

We have 14,000 students. in our classrooms. They come and they pay to be taught by us. They have relationships with us, because we work with them each day, helping and encouraging them. Faculty have always had a Growth Mindset, President, we want our students to grow their minds, not to be molded as if they were lumps of clay for Mr. Langos’s business interests. (Let them hear how we will fight for our students.)

We have allies. Let me introduce you to a few of them:

  1. Tom Ritchie, President of the Dayton and Miami Valley AFL-CIO. We are affiliate members.
  2. Paul Davis, National leader, AAUP-CBC
  3. We have our retirees, whose expertise is also available to us, represented today by Dr Larry Prochaska, from the College of Science and Boonshoft School of Medicine.
  4. Derek Pridemore, one of tens of thousands of alumni. They recall how faculty made the difference in their lives.
  5. You have heard from Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, and Senator Sherrod Brown. We also have other elected officials plus local candidates, Kim McCarthy and Ryan Taylor in the House.

(Let’s hear it for our allies)

This community of people—faculty, spouses, retirees, students, alumni, politicians, union brethren—join us in our Fight for Wright. You will not win this fight. So stop it. Do not inflict any additional damage to this University. Get the power-grabbing articles off the table. It’s okay to admit you don’t know anything about higher education, and to back off. One thing faculty learn from their years on the job is  that to be good at one thing, like colonial American History, does not mean you’re good at everything. The person in the office next door is an expert on something we know little about, let alone someone in a different college. We recognize the limits on our expertise. So you know a lot about running a credit union. But you have demonstrated how little you know about running a University, and that’s okay. That’s why shared governance exists.

On one thing, let us all be transparent. It is the current administration and Board who were and are the cause of our problems—including current Trustee Mr. Bridges, who was Chair of the Board through the overspending catastrophe. Mr. Bridges decided to make David Hopkins one of the top ten best paid public university presidents in the U.S.  Mr. Bridges, as the Ohio Ethics Commission pointed out, was paying close enough attention to ensure there was a lucrative job for his son at WSRI, in the years it was being bailed out by millions of student tuition dollars. Mr. Fecher served as Chair of the Board’s Finance Committee.

And it was the current admin who decided to put tenure and workload on the table, so that they can lay-off even more faculty to make fewer and bigger classes for students. These decisions didn’t happen on Hopkins’ watch. These decisions belong to President Cheryl Schrader.

So we urge you all to talk today to each other about what you intend to do, while we talk to the gathered press. Surely the Double Boondoggle story is enough; please for the sake of this community, do not embarrass us—nor the governor who appointed you—any further. More bad press about mismanagement is really not what we want. Don’t continue this uncivil war for a day longer than it needs.

Because—We have United to fight for Wright—

And we will win.

Thank you





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